Barbary Coast Keelhaul
Join us for a special opportunity to board the Maritime Museum’s historic ship The Balclutha to witness the filming of Bay Area Fellow Torreya Cummings’ Barbary Coast Keelhaul.
The “Barbary Coast” referred to an area of early San Francisco notorious for saloons, brothels, and general lawlessness. In 1863, San Francisco passed a law criminalizing persons wearing “a dress not belonging to his or her sex” in public. In their current research, Cummings explores how these two aspects of San Francisco history may have been interconnected. Reminiscent of anti-drag, anti-LGBTQ legislation widespread today, this work questions a history of prejudice within a well-known progressive safe haven.
Part live performance, part video production, this work is meant to honor the historical existence of persons subject to this law. Performers, dressed in a variety of interpretations of maritime drag, will stage the “keelhauling” of a waterproof camera on a rope. Audience members are invited on board to witness this work in progress and may have the opportunity to participate as extras in the film. This project, while based in history, is a work of barely-narrative fiction.
Thematic attire (nautical, of any era) is welcomed, but not required. A small reception with snacks and drinks will follow the filming.